British security forces found a major haul of Irish Republican Army guns, bombs and explosives in Belfast and arrested two men, police said Saturday.

Eighty bombs, more than 44 pounds of commercial explosives, guns, ammunition and bomb-making equipment were uncovered during searches of houses in the west of the city Friday and Saturday."Had one of these bombs gone off when it was being assembled, there could have been a major explosion and loss of life," a police spokesman said.

The arms haul was the first major breakthrough by security forces in their efforts to counter the latest Belfast bombing campaign by the IRA, which is fighting to end British rule in Northern Ireland.

On Friday, the IRA struck at the heart of government in London, exploding a bomb in a street only 300 yards from Prime Minister John Major's Downing Street office.

The blast caused damage to buildings and cars. There were no injuries, but morning rush-hour traffic was disrupted.

The bomb followed a series of IRA incendiary attacks on stores in London and northern England that caused millions of dollars in damage but no casualties.